Anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul entered a second day on Saturday and spread to a number of other Turkish cities after police used tear gas and water cannon to break up a sit-in at Taksim Square on Friday.
Fierce anti-government protests in Turkey continued for a second consecutive day on Saturday, with demonstrations spreading to several cities around the country and leading to violent clashes with police.
The protests were sparked by what had begun as a peaceful sit-in at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square on Monday, aimed at preventing a planned major construction project which would see the uprooting of a number of trees in the square’s Gezi Park.
But as the sit-in ran into a fourth day, Turkish police Friday decided to take action, using tear gas and water cannon in a dawn raid to disperse the protesters, injuring scores in the process.
For the second day running, fierce anti-government protests have taken place in the heart of Istanbul. Photo: AFP
The violence began on Friday when police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a sit-in at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square. Photo: AFP
Protesters had been staging a sit-in since Monday in an effort to halt plans for a major construction project that would see a number of trees uprooted in the square’s Gezi Park. Photo: AFP
Demonstrations against the police and the government in general have also spread to other cities, including the capital Ankara. Photo: AFP
Amnesty International has condemned the brutality of the Turkish police and said some officers should be brought to justice. Photo: AFP
The violent break-up of the sit-in sparked a furious anti-government protest that took over the city’s main square and continued into Saturday morning.
There were also reports of demonstrations spreading to other cities across the country, with protesters expressing anger at the perceived brutality of police and a general dissatisfaction with the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Some 5,000 people gathered at a park in the capital, Ankara, swelling into a busy street nearby, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on Erdogan to resign.
Police used tear gas to push back a group that tried to march toward the Parliament building.
Protests were also held in a dozen other cities, including one that drew thousands in the third-largest city of Izmir, reports said.
Meanwhile, rights groups have condemned the harsh methods used by the Turkish authorities in dealing with the protesters, with Amnesty International deploring what it called Turkish police brutality and said some officers should be brought to justice.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-06-01